Maybe you already have a homeowners warranty. Maybe you’re still choosing a provider. Either way, you’ll want to know that the money you invest isn’t wasted. Fortunately, a lot of that is in your hands. The following tactics can help you get the most out of your home warranty.
Choose a Good Home Warranty Provider
For starters, if you don’t already have a home warranty provider, choose one who will provide the best coverage for your home. Some factors to consider when choosing a provider include:
- Upper limits on coverage
- What types of repairs are covered vs. which ones you’re likely to need
- Penalties and fees
- Overall level of customer service
Some homeowners warranty providers may not provide the most service for their cost, so it’s important to do your research.
Read Your Homeowners Warranty Contract
Once you choose a provider, make sure you read your homeowners warranty contract. You’ll get a clearer idea of what your plan does and what it does not do, allowing you to make wiser decisions about when to call for service.
Specific details vary from one plan to the next, so reading through your contract is well worth the effort. In particular, the level of coverage you get often varies by state.
Reread Your Contract Before Calling
When one of your appliances or systems needs repairs, it’s a good idea to review your contract again. Given the limitations that may exist in your state, you’ll want to be certain the exact problem is covered.
For example, suppose you have an appliances warranty and your garage door opener fails. As a result, your door opener assembly breaks. When calling it in, you’ll want to report a malfunctioning door opener, not a broken assembly, because the broken assembly is not covered. Being specific about the exact item covered rather than the end results will help you get service faster.
You’ll also be able to anticipate if something won’t be covered, saving you the cost of a service call fee.
Cover Items Already in Working Condition
Most homeowners warranties only cover items that are already in working condition. If it’s out of order before you get it under warranty, the coverage won’t apply.
Custom plans are a great way to focus your coverage only on items that qualify. If you go this route, it may be wise to exclude appliances or systems that have existing problems.
Alternatively, you might want to make those repairs before getting coverage. That way, if the appliance or system malfunctions again, you’ll be more likely to get it covered.
Use Your Appliances Properly
Most warranties won’t cover damage from misuse or disasters. In order to get the most out of your homeowners warranty, make sure you follow instructions for their operation and use them as intended.
You’ll also want to exercise safety precautions when performing your own home repairs, especially if you’re doing electrical work (risk of fire) or plumbing (risk of water damage). Damage from fire and water is generally not covered by home warranties—not to mention dangerous—so make sure you follow all safety precautions.
Call Your Homeowners Warranty Provider First
Whenever you do have an appliance or system malfunction, it may be tempting to call a service provider first and then hope you’re covered after the fact. Try to resist this urge. Many homeowners warranty companies won’t cover repairs after the fact, and they often have their own list of service providers they use.
It’s worth noting that home warranties aren’t designed to handle emergencies, so in the event of an emergency situation, you’ll want something to fall back on.
Homeowners Warranty Coverage Information
As you use these tactics, you’ll be able to get the most mileage out of your home warranty plan. You can find further information on home warranty coverage here.